These days, it’s pretty common to see people in hip-hop take on ventures outside of music. Rather it’s fashion, restaurants, or real-estate, we love our hip-hop moguls. Even though we adore the talent and the hustle, people within our country are still at war with a bigger issue. The issue I am referring to is embracing wellness. Even though building empires are great for providing people with opportunities and making your wealth last longer, true wealth comes from health.
Back in 2015, legendary members of hip-hop’s The Lox, Styles P and Jadakiss opened up their first juice bar called Juice For Life and ever since then they have been responsible for opening three juice bars in low-come areas (two in the Bronx, one in Yonkers, and one on the way to Brooklyn soon) within New York. If you’re wondering why these juice bars were purposely place in low-come areas, I shall break it down for you based off of a very important lesson from a couple weeks ago that I acquired from my communication theory class. In this country, everyone is systematically positioned on and off the margins based off of the income, status, and race you belong to. If you do not make a lot of money to sustain a comfortable life within your environment or do not live a privileged lifestyle , you’re often placed on the margins. When you operate on this marginal line, there’s a lack in funding within the area, the fresh grocery stores are out of reach , are given food stamps to afford “adequate” food instead of healthy food and resources aren’t provided to actually improve the quality of life for them. On the other side of things, if you operate in the powerful and privileged center of this cultural circle (which is based off of Stuart Hall’s Cultural Studies Theory) your resources for healthy food, healthy lifestyle, and knowledge are limitless.
So what does putting Juices For Life do for the low income neighborhoods that they’re placed in ? Well, ultimately it changes the habits of individuals, it provides representation and motivation for wanting to live a better quality life, it promotes community and togetherness, there’s knowledge provided on the benefits of each fruit and vegetable that’s placed in your drink of choice, they embrace wellness and value any individual’s desire to improve their patterns of health, and overall quality of life. What if we made more room for Hip-Hop to talk more health and less wealth (like Styles P and Jadakiss)? Could we then make real and progressive changes in the communities then ? Could we then teach that you’re never too cool to care about yourself? Well being that what we place in our bodies affects the way we think, communicate, and ultimately live, I would have to say yes. If we could take this impactful movement and spread it everywhere, life would actually have the chance in being better for all.